In the 13th round of the 1989 MLB Draft, the Cleveland Indians selected a third baseman named Jim Thome. Nobody then had any idea that Cleveland’s selection would eventually turn out to be a historic one.
22 years and 4 teams later, on the night of August 15, 2011, Thome, a current member of the Minnesota Twins, went into the record books by slugging his astonishing 600th career home run! It was a night in which Delmon Young hitting a home run in his first at-bat with the Detroit Tigers, and against the team that had traded him just hours before, would have otherwise been the headline story of the night. But, Thome had other ideas.
In the sixth inning of the Twins’ 9-6 victory over the Tigers, Jim Thome belted career home run number 599 off of Detroit starter Rick Porcello. Then, just an inning later, Thome hit his historic blast off of reliever Daniel Schlereth, becoming just the eighth player in major league history to reach the incredible milestone. When Thome finished rounding the bases, he was hugged by his teammates, coaches, and family. To watch both home runs, click here. To see some of baseball’s legends congratulating Thome, click here.
After Thome hit No. 599, I remember thinking: “We’re gonna have to wait a while for 600.” After all, it took him nearly 30 at-bats to go from 598 to 599, and it took Alex Rodriguez 13 games last season to go from 599 to 600 career homers. It took Thome an inning!! I was definitely surprised!
It couldn’t have happened to a nicer human being. Thome is one of the most humble and gracious players in the game today, despite his fame. He has never been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, unlike some fellow members of the 600 home run club (including Rodriguez!). Thome truly deserves this honor, and he has worked extremely hard to earn it.
I, along with all baseball fans, am extremely proud of Thome. It is amazing that, just weeks before his 41st birthday, he can still crush a baseball. Even in the midst of a Twins season filled with disappointment, Minnesota fans –and all baseball fans– have something to celebrate, thanks to number 25, Jim Thome! What are you thoughts on Thome’s tremendous achievement??
Written by: Sam Graves